Using a Commercial Process Historian for Full-Featured Machinery Condition Monitoring
Can a commercial process historian be used to replace stand-alone condition monitoring software – including acquisition and display of high-speed vibration and surge waveform data? Historically, the answer has been “no.” Today, however, a very different story is unfolding.
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A Brief History
Permanent vibration monitoring systems have been with us since at least the 1960s. When the first edition of American Petroleum Institute Standard 670 was published in 1976, it helped push such systems from the pioneering few into the mainstream. Today, it is standard engineering practice to include such systems on all critical turbomachinery – almost without exception – in not just the hydrocarbon processing industries, but all industries where critical machinery is found. These systems have expanded from simply vibration monitoring to now include bearing temperatures, overspeed, surge detection, and other parameters, and have thus become “machinery protection systems” instead of merely vibration monitoring systems.
The 1980s saw the rise of something new to complement these protection systems: computer software that archived and displayed the vibration data – including detailed waveform snapshots. Today, it is estimated that 25% of API 670 systems ship with some form of online condition monitoring software, making it the fastest growing segment of the machinery vibration measurement industry. Indeed, so prevalent have such systems become, the 5th edition of API 670 now includes an annex devoted specifically to condition monitoring software, augmenting the standard’s historical focus on only machinery protection systems.